When the COVID-19 pandemic hit last spring, employees suddenly telecommute and businesses rush to move applications to the cloud, making secure remote access paramount. The pandemic is coming to an end, but corporate networking has completely changed.
Enterprises are looking for ways to unify networking and edge security into one manageable platform using new technologies like SASE. Postponed to a later date, zero-trust network access has become a popular technology as more businesses seek more effective ways to combat cyberattacks in a world where traditional barriers do not exist. As the line between security and networking is blurring, traditional security solution vendors are moving into the networking realm, and networking solution vendors are raising their own security game.
The companies on this Top 10 list show that they have a clear vision for the future of networking and have a solid plan to achieve their goals. Note that strength is a subjective criterion, not a list based on quantitative criteria. The order of introduction was also based on their impact on the network industry from the perspective of industry experts.
1. Cisco. Stay ahead with SASE, Zero Trust, IoT, and NaaS
Reason for selection. There’s a reason no one can push Cisco away from the dominant networking solution provider. Either way, Cisco won’t get ahead. SASE? It also bundles SD-WAN technology acquired through the Meraki acquisition, AnyConnect for remote access, and Duo for zero trust. What about NaaS? Cisco recently announced Cisco Plus, a subscription-based NaaS service. IoT? The Kineptic platform is in charge. It remains the market leader in key areas such as Ethernet switch sales. Although Cisco’s Switch sales in 2020 fell nearly 10% due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it still dominates the market with 39% market share. By comparison, Juniper’s switch market share is only 3%.
focus area. Cisco has been actively pursuing mergers and acquisitions in recent years. Key acquisitions include FluidMesh (Industrial IoT and Connected Car), Kenna Security (Vulnerability Management) and Sedona Systems (Software Defined Networking).
key figures. Third-quarter revenue was $12.8 billion, up 7% year-over-year, with strong growth in security (up 13%), infrastructure platforms (up 6%) and applications (5%).
Outlook. As enterprises reinvent their business models, IT spending is expected to increase in several areas, with IoT, SASE, and zero trust being the most prominent. By offering a broad portfolio of hardware, software, and services, Cisco is well positioned to reduce reliance on point solutions and capitalize on the desire of corporate CIOs to settle with a small number of strategic partners.
2. VMware. Finally free! Only innovation and growth remain.
Reason for selection. VMware has successfully expanded its portfolio from server virtualization to containers and security, cloud migration, cloud management, endpoint management, SD-WAN, hyperconvergence and advanced networking. But just a few months ago, we had an eventful time. In January, CEO Pat Gelsinger returned to Intel after a 10-year reign (Gelsinger doesn’t look that old, but only 30 years at IBM). That alone is an unsettling situation, but in April, Dell exploded a bomb saying that it would spin off VMware. For reference, EMC acquired VMware in 2004, and Dell acquired EMC including VMware in 2016.
focus area. Becoming an independent company again means an all-round change for VMware. VMware has been working well with EMC and Dell, which are essentially hardware vendors, while at the same time trying to keep innovation moving at the speed of software.
key figures. Dell acquired an 81% stake in VMware through its $67 billion acquisition of EMC. Under the terms of the spin-off, the sale price is estimated at $9.5 billion. Dell will use the proceeds from the sale to pay off debts incurred by the EMC acquisition.
Outlook. The relationship between Dell and VMware has always been a bit dicey. VMware prided itself on running independently, but anyway, it was owned by Dell and sold products through Dell’s channels and developed technologies like HCI together. The close partnership between VMware and Dell will continue, but experts believe the spin-off will make VMware more agile and more independent, which will also strengthen its dealings with Dell’s competitors.
3. Arista. Aim for the cloud with AI-centric security and networking
Reason for selection. Arista understands that taking away Cisco’s stake in the high-speed switching market and relying too much on sales from Facebook or Microsoft is not a strategy for sustainable growth. Arista diversified its product portfolio to target the campus switching market and provide networking management, while advancing into areas such as security, IoT, and AI. Recently, it announced a zero trust solution based on network segmentation. Gone are the days of emphasizing speed and capacity. Now, Arista claims to be a specialist in ‘cognitive cloud networking’.
focus area. It acquired Awake Security, which has AI-focused, proactive threat detection technology for IoT campus networks.
key figures. Over the past decade, Arista’s high-speed switching market share has grown from 3.5% to 16.3%. For reference, Cisco decreased from 78.1% in 2012 to 43.7% in the first half of 2020.
Outlook. Under the stable leadership of Jeishree Ulal, one of the few female CEOs in the IT field, Arista has been pretty good through the pandemic. It reported a 27% growth in first-quarter earnings and a healthy operating profit of close to $200 million. “Arista Networks is a great example of how attractive products and prudent business operations can result during a pandemic,” said Holger Muller, Constellion Research Analyst. They are doing well.”
Source: ITWorld Korea by www.itworld.co.kr.
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